More rain may hinder Typhoon Haiyan recovery, Christian Aid warns

Published 12 November 2013  |  
(AP)
Typhoon survivors take shelter from the rain as they queue up in the hopes of boarding an evacuation flight on a C-130 military transport plane, Tuesday Nov. 12, 2013, in Tacloban, central Philippines. Thousands of typhoon survivors swarmed the airport on Tuesday seeking a flight out, but only a few hundred made it, leaving behind a shattered, rain-lashed city short of food and water and littered with countless bodies.

The worst of Typhoon Haiyan may be over, but the Philippines has a long way to go before it recovers from the devastating storm that hit over the weekend.

A report released by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that 9.5 million people have already been affected across nine regions of the country, and well over 600,000 people have been displaced.

Many international response organisations already have teams on the ground, working to find survivors and support victims.

However, further heavy rains forecast over the next 48 hours are likely to seriously affect their progress, says Christian Aid.

The threat of more heavy rainfall could be disastrous, as aid response teams are already struggling to reach remote communities due to damage to power lines, roads and bridges.

Cristina Ruiz, Head of Humanitarian Programmes for Asia at Christian Aid says more rain "will greatly hinder our assessments and the delivery of essential food and emergency shelter to those in desperate need".

"Without swift humanitarian assistance the current situation could very quickly deteriorate even further," she said. 

International Christian relief organisation Samaritan's Purse began mobilising as soon as the scale of the storm became apparent.  It deployed a disaster response team that arrived in the Philippines on Saturday afternoon.

"[We] always seek to go to the area of greatest need, to areas where many other people can't get to and where people are suffering most," said team member Peter Ivermee from Dorset.

The charity has been active in the Philippines for over 15 years, working with local partners to provide emergency relief in situations such as this. President Franklin Graham has assured the charity will do everything it can to help and support victims, "not only to provide survivors with physical aid, but also to share God's love and bring hope to their communities."

Other charities pledging to help those devastated by Haiyan include Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), which already provides significant ongoing support to the Church in the Philippines. It has sent out an appeal for prayer and has announced that its aid will go towards long-term re-building work, with emphasis on pastoral support.

The British government has also responded to the disaster, with David Cameron announcing last night that a Royal Navy warship and RAF military transport aircraft will be deployed to the Philippines where the typhoon has "wrought such appalling devastation".

The crews will provide humanitarian assistance, engineering and first-aid expertise.

This latest support signifies an additional £4 million of assistance, bringing the UK's total contribution to £10 million.

"Britain is determined to stand by the Philippines," says International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

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